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How to apply for a Masters - Part 1

By Sarina Chandaria

After GCSEs, the IB and then an undergraduate degree, thinking about what to do next felt (and still feels) really nerve-wracking. It is truly a time when you can choose to take your life in (almost) any direction. After spending some time looking into potential careers, I decided that for what I wanted to professionally I would benefit from doing a Masters. In particular, was really inspired by a paper I took as part of my undergraduate degree and decided to pursue that particular discipline as a postgraduate degree.

Applying for a Masters can be an overwhelming experience, particularly as there isn’t a centralised platform like UCAS to co-ordinate it all from. For me, applying for a postgraduate degree was full of trial and error, involving panicked emails to Academic Services about documents I didn’t know I needed, and a lot of time spent really thinking about what (and how) I wanted to do in the next few years. Using my experience going through the application (and rejection and acceptance) process I’ve created a rough guide to applying to a Masters; however, everyone’s journey will be different and application processes vary hugely not only institution to institution but also country to country if you’re applying outside of the UK.


I would recommend doing these steps around August and September of the year before you would begin postgraduate study.

· Zero in on the specific subject you want to study, for me this was development studies.

· Use search tools to find universities that offer your subject – this will involve having A LOT of tabs open on your computer. These are some that I used, but I also found some just by googling the subject title + masters.

· Ask your tutors or the professor/lecturer of a class that aligns with what you want to do for postgraduate for recommendations of schools and particular courses.

· As you find courses and universities that you like, add them to a spreadsheet so you can keep track of everything. I used the column headers below:

Once you feel you have collected enough information, create a set of criteria such as affordability (depends on your personal situation, the funding you think you can get etc.), what the course offers in terms of academic, personal, and professional development and any other things important to you. Use this to make a short list of 4-6 places you want to apply to.

More to come!

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